The courtyard is modern, and shows the modern building housing the Industrial Galleries. You get a good view of the original door, leading into the Tudor Parlour Closet. Behind the wall with the windows and bench in front is where Christopher Plant is waiting for his wool tithes and rent.
Note the huge buttress to the left of the building, keeping the walls in place.
The sculpture depicts a life-size outline of a quarter of Arkwright's water wheel.
In 1827, Thomas Hewes installed his most advanced iron waterwheel at the Arkwright cotton mill in Bakewell. The mill was one mile upstream at Lumford. Hewes was the inventor of iron waterwheels, having developed them for the Strutt cotton mills in Belper, just north of Derby.
The Bakewell wheel was 25ft (8m) in diameter. The buckets were 18ft (5.5m) wide. In the photo, there is a marker by the bench showing the width of the buckets.
It generated 100 horsepower which enabled the mill to spin faster, producing a finer grade of cotton.
Arkwright’s original mill, built in 1777, had a wooden undershot wheel. Its successor, the Hewes wheel, was fed at high breast level by means of a high level canal reaching half a mile back to Ashford lake. The canal is still there today. The Mill burnt down in 1868 and was rebuilt in around 1890. Only the chimney can be seen today.
Arkwright's Mill after the fire in the 1860s.
In 1777, Sir Richard Arkwright chose Bakewell as the site of his third cotton mill. Although little remains of it today, Lumford was the first of Arkwright’s mills to be powered by a river.
When it opened it was the largest mill in England, employing some 300 people. What remains of its great water can be seen incorporated into the sculpture in the museum’s courtyard.
Women and children, some as young as 10 years of age, worked the mill whilst men were employed as mechanics to keep the spinning machines working day and night. Many were local, but others came from as far afield as Manchester and needed accommodation. Sir Richard built many cottages in the town to house them, and having bought this house, divided it into five separate dwellings – each with its own entrance, staircase and fireplace. He added a sixth, now a ruin, at the southern end.
After the mill closed, the D. P. Battery Co. gave the site a new lease of life, and like the mill before it, their factory soon became Bakewell’s main employer.
During the Second World War, batteries from D. P. Bakewell powered submarines and later hospitals, telephone exchanges and even Blackpool Tower. It was a great blow to the local economy when the factory closed in 1970.